Tanzania Plans New Highway Through the Serengeti

 

Tanzania is planning to build a highway through the Serengeti National Park, one of the largest game parks on earth. It will cross the migration route of millions of wild animals that migrate north to find new pastures and meadows every year. Scientists and wildlife experts are afraid that animals may get killed by increased traffic and the whole ecosystem will be in danger.

They argue that such an ecosystem like the Serengeti, which is a World Heritage Site, is unique in our world and must be preserved. Apart from that, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the Serengeti National Park every year. The population in the region depends on it for their income.

But politics have proven to be stronger.  The Tanzanian president argues that it is time to care for the people of the country, not only tourism. He has promised that he will build the road, which is very important to the people living in the north. Through this new highway remote towns near Lake Victoria will be connected with the more populated areas of Tanzania.

The people who live along the new highway would get a new quality of life. Currently they only have gravel roads and no real connections to city centers. With a new road they would get fresh goods faster or be able to reach hospitals quicker. Some day they may even get electricity and a cellphone service.

Environmentalist groups against the plan say that poachers and hunters would be able to drive into the Serengeti fast, shoot the animals and quickly get out again. Others fear that a whole ecosystem that consists of lions, leopards, birds and many other animals may collapse if the road is built.  During September and October millions of migrating animals produce thousands of tons of dung that fertilize the grassland.

 

Alternative routes to Lake Victoria south of the Serengeti have been suggested by environmental groups. But the government rejects them and promises that 50 km of road through the Serengeti will not be tarmac.

 

Wild animals during migration

Wild animals during migration

 

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Words

  • alternative = other
  • argue = to give clear reasons
  • care for = take care of
  • cell phone service = a company that gives you a connection for your mobile phones
  • collapse = break down
  • connect = link
  • currently = right now
  • depend = need
  • dung = waste from cows or wild animals
  • ecosystem = animals and plants in an area and the way they live with each other
  • environmentalist =  someone who worries about nature and the world around us and wants to protect it
  • fear = to be afraid of
  • fertilize = to make the soil better
  • game = wild animals or birds that are hunted
  • gravel road = roads that have small stones on the surface
  • highway = wide main road
  • income = the money you get for the work you do
  • increase = more and more
  • meadow = field with wild grass and flowers
  • migration = birds and animals travel regularly from one area to another
  • migration route = path or road that animals or birds use to travel from one place to another
  • pasture =  land that is covered with grass
  • poacher = someone who illegally catches or shoots wild animals
  • politics = ideas and activities that give you power in a  country
  • preserve = save
  • promise = to say that you will do something
  • prove = show
  • reach = get to
  • reject = to say no
  • remote = faraway
  • scientist = person who is trained in science
  • suggest = put forward, recommend
  • tarmac = tar and small stones used to make roads = asphalt
  • traffic = cars and trucks moving along a road
  • unique = special, only one of its kind
  • wildlife = animals and plants that grow naturally
  • World Heritage Site = special place or area that is important and must be protected